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13 Times Queer TV/Movie Characters Were Written Beautifully, And 13 Times They Were Portrayed In A Horrible Light

"Sex Education does a good job handling sexuality and gender. It's very front and center, and it's the first show I've ever seen that includes both pan and ace representation."

Recently, it was announced that Warner Bros. Pictures cut out important dialogue in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore that confirmed Jude Law's character — young Albus Dumbledore — was gay.

The two lines have been removed in all movie theaters in China, which has obviously sparked a lot of reactions from fans and the LGBTQ community. Representation in TV and film matters, and seeing this kind of thing happening in 2022 is pretty disheartening.

Bowen Yang on "SNL's" Weekend Update: "Do more!"

So we asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which LGBTQ characters from TV and film were portrayed in an accurate light, and which characters were portrayed in a dismissive light. Here's what they had to say:

Warning: Potential TV/movie spoilers ahead! 🚨

Note: Not all submissions are from Community users.

Note: There isn't "one" typical portrayal of someone who identifies as LGBTQ — the spectrum is big. This post analyzes LGBTQ stereotypes vs. realistic characteristics and experiences.

1. An LGBTQ character written horribly: Castiel from Supernatural (2005–2020)

Castiel telling Dean he loves him

"12 years of queer-coding only to die five minutes after coming out. Castiel's confession was supposed to encapsulate his true happiness, saying that 'queer people are happy when they come out.' He was also barely mentioned after he died 😐."


2. An LGBTQ character written beautifully: Nick from Heartstopper (2022)

Nick telling Charlie he told someone that they're going out

"Honestly, everyone from Heartstopper was written beautifully, but I can speak best to bisexual narratives, and Nick was able to go on that journey without being hindered by the 'you're just gay and pretending to be bi' narrative. It was really refreshing to see a young person be able to find and accept himself through a relationship with another man without having to erase the part of himself that is also interested in women. He made mistakes in his journey and owned every single one of them, even while being so confused about who he was. This was an excellent depiction of a young person learning themselves through queer *joy* instead of trauma, and it was beautiful."

"Also, feeling bi panic while watching Pirates of the Caribbean? Incredibly relatable."


3. An LGBTQ character written horribly: Maya from Pretty Little Liars (2010–2017)

Maya and Emily taking a picture; Emily crying over Maya's death

"Emily and Maya from Pretty Little Liars were one of the first representations of a WLW relationship I ever saw as a closeted queer kid. Their relationship itself was awesome representation, but then they killed Maya in a classic 'bury your gays' fashion."


4. An LGBTQ character written beautifully: Leighton from The Sex Lives of College Girls (2021–present)

Leighton and Alicia having sex

"I love Leighton because she’s such a strong character who knows her worth. She’s so determined to not be defined by one thing, which makes her journey so interesting and worth rooting for. I even teared up when she came out to Kimberly on the show — it was such a powerful moment that feels more realistic and genuine to queer people in 2022."

Lauren Garafano 

5. An LGBTQ character written horribly: Celie Harris from The Color Purple (1985)

Shug kissing Celie for the first time, and Celie smiling happily in response

"Celie from the film adaptation of The Color Purple. The main character in Alice Walker's 1982 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel was based on Walker's grandmother who followed a lifetime of abuse and 'was not attracted to men.' Director Steven Spielberg was criticized for significantly toning down Celie's love affair with her abusive husband's mistress in the 1985 film adaptation. By his own admission, Spielberg 'took something that was extremely erotic and very intentional, and reduced it to a simple kiss.'"

"In the same interview, Spielberg stated that he wouldn't change this if he were to remake the film today."

Mary Colussi

6. An LGBTQ character written beautifully: Chiron from Moonlight (2016)

Chiron telling Kevin: "You're the only man that's ever touched me — you're the only one. I haven't really touched anyone since"

"Chiron from Moonlight has to be one of the best depictions I’ve ever seen as a queer character. Here we had a Black, queer man living in the South, discovering and defining for himself what manhood meant. Though his road was rough, he still stood up for himself — often times we've seen Black queer characters being portrayed as 'overly feminine,' and Chiron reminded us that queerness doesn’t have just one look."


7. An LGBTQ character written horribly: Charlie from Legends of Tomorrow (2016–2022)

Charlie: "So, you think I'm hot, then?"

"She was done absolutely wrong — wasn't she supposed to be gender fluid? The show only ever used she/her pronouns for them, and it's shitty considering most gender fluid people use multiple or changing pronouns. Also, the fact that Charlie was pansexual and had this ambiguous relationship with Zari that even the actors wanted to happen was ridiculous. When Behrad showed up (who they referred to as the 'male version' of Zari in his very first episode) they had Charlie hook up with him IMMEDIATELY, which played into that 'if one of them were a man' trope, I suppose."


8. An LGBTQ character written beautifully: Rob Brooks from High Fidelity (2020)

Rob describing Kat: "Kat was gorgeous and interesting and just...just cool. Like, real cool"

Rob's relationship with Kat was illustrated just like all of her other relationships with men — there wasn't a tragic or humongous coming out storyline. Kat was another ex on Rob's top-five heartbreak list, and it was just as annoying to watch Kat ruin the relationship like some of Rob's male exes did. She wasn't solely defined by her sexuality, which was a relief to watch — Kat was a natural part of her story, and how she impacted her relationship with music.

9. An LGBTQ character written horribly: Piper from Orange Is the New Black (2013–2019)

Piper with Alex; Piper with Larry

"She identified as bisexual, but the show refused to acknowledge it. She either had to be straight or gay, and they wouldn’t let her be bisexual even though she had romantic relationships with both men and women. Bi-erasure so bad!"


10. LGBTQ characters written beautifully: Every queer character from Sex Education (2019–present)

Eric arguing with his father about his costume appearance: "This is me. Isn't it better to be who I am?"

"All of the LGBTQ characters from Sex Education should be in this article under 'characters done right.' This show does such a good job handling the topics of sexuality and gender, and not in an 'oh yeah, this is kind of here' way. It's very front and center, and it's the first show I've ever seen that includes both pan and ace representation."

—Phoenix BK, Facebook

"Done right: Florence from Sex Education — asexual representation is so rare, and that one single scene when Florence is talking to Jean about feeling broken was something that most ace kids could relate to. Jean's response was something those same ace kids wish they had heard at that age, too — it was short, but realistic and meaningful, and I cannot explain how validating it felt to watch (even as an adult)."


11. Two LGBTQ characters written horribly: Daniela and Carla from In the Heights (2021)

Daniela and Carla walking through the street; them dancing near a picnic table, them dancing on a staircase by the pool

"Daniela and Carla from In the Heights were done so wrong — I didn’t even know they were a couple until someone told me. During my second viewing, sure, if you’re really looking out for it, they’re a couple. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that there weren't any anti-gay storylines, but I take issue when LGBTQ characters and relationships are ONLY in the background (considering straight characters and relationships are both in the spotlight and in the background). Stephanie Beatriz was still a queen, though."


12. An LGBTQ character written beautifully: Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013–2021)

Diaz telling her parents she identifies as bisexual

"I love how Rosa's sexuality was handled. The scene when everyone went over to her place for game night and Holt said to her, 'Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place — thank you' was honestly BEAUTIFUL!"


"Rosa showed realistic struggles while still keeping a humorous and positive mood for the show — her character was absolutely done right."


13. An LGBTQ character written horribly: Adam Torres from Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001–2015)

Adam getting into a car crash

"To an extent, I think they screwed up a bit with Adam from Degrassi — it was groundbreaking for its time, but looking back, they did him kind of dirty. They didn't give him a proper binder, he didn't have much of a story arc besides being forcefully outed and his parents not accepting him, and he got killed in a car accident. In my opinion, his character felt like it was written for cis audiences."


"Degrassi: Next Class was also awful when it came to Tristan and Miles' relationship, mostly because Tristan sucked as a character and he didn't accept Miles being bisexual. Their characters and relationship were toxic overall."

Kelly Martinez

14. An LGBTQ character written beautifully: Robin from Stranger Things (2016–present)

Robin: "These ladies are hot. They're so very hot"

"They chose the perfect time in the story to reveal it without having Robin explicitly say 'I like girls.' The line where she says 'I wanted her to look at me' did a very good job at encapsulating what it feels like for a queer person to have a crush on a straight person. Having Steve not be like, 'I think it's so cool you're gay!' and actually have him be quiet and listen to her was very cool to see."


15. An LGBTQ character written horribly: Damian from Mean Girls (2004)

Damian complimenting Cady's hair color, and Janis introducing him as: "This is Damian — he's almost too gay to function"

"Damian from Mean Girls was done wrong — yes, I know he's a fan favorite, but I hate how they made 'gay best friend' his primary personality trait. In the story, he was just there to add comedic relief and make Cady's life more 'fabulous' — he deserved his own complexities."


16. An LGBTQ character written beautifully: Micah Lee from The L Word: Generation Q (2019–present)

Micah telling José: "I want to tell you everything, but I haven't met a lot of people who don't squint and try to imagine what I used to look like"

"I've always loved Micah's character and what he's represented as an Asian transgender man, but my love for him skyrocketed in Season 2 as he redefined his sexual identity. He started the series as an openly gay man, but Season 2 saw him start to develop feelings for his friend's sister. While he did date women pre-transition, he grappled with his feelings towards a woman after coming out as a gay man. It was beautiful to watch him accept this part of himself — sexuality is a spectrum, not a box we should put ourselves in."

Kayla Harrington

17. Two LGBTQ characters written horribly: Willow and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003)

Willow and Oz drinking at a party; Willow telling Buffy "And I think I'm kind of gay;" Willow and Tara embracing

18. An LGBTQ character written beautifully: Ryan Wilder/Batwoman from Batwoman (2019–2022)

Ryan and Sophie kissing

"The CW just did LGBTQ representation dirty by canceling Batwoman, which had a Black lesbian superhero as its lead the past two seasons in Javicia Leslie's Ryan Wilder."


19. Two LGBTQ characters written horribly: Blaine Anderson and Brittany Pierce from Glee (2009–2015)

Kurt telling Blaine: "Bisexual's a term that gay guys use when they wanna hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change." Santana telling Dani: "I finally have a girlfriend who I don't have to worry about straying for penis"

"We all know that Glee featured some particularly anti-bisexual storylines — Kurt was an asshole to Blaine when he was questioning his sexuality. Brittany was bi and it freaked Santana out — that show did some fantastic things for their gay, lesbian, and trans audiences, but they failed to respect and depict bisexuality (which was really disappointing)."


20. An LGBTQ character written beautifully: Aki Menzies from Gossip Girl (2021–present)

Aki: "I'm not gay. I don't know, maybe, sometimes...I think I'm into both"

"While the show has a tonnnnn of issues, one storyline they've done particularly well is Aki discovering his sexuality and coming out. It's sad to say, but parents outing their kids for their own gain is something that happens often — however, I love that he stood up for himself against his father and his best friend being anti-gay. It's definitely a brighter moment in an otherwise MESSY show."

Kayla Harrington

21. Two LGBTQ characters written horribly: Idgie and Ruth from Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Ruth and Idgie having a food fight in the back of the café

"I grew up loving Fried Green Tomatoes, but never knew it was based on a book. I was so mad when I finally read it and found out I had been robbed of a WLW relationship — I felt like it was obvious in the movie that Idgie loved Ruth, but it would have been nice to know that the feeling was actually communicated in a clear way."


"The thing that REALLY bothered me about Fried Green Tomatoes was that the girls were based on real people — so, it felt disrespectful to write out their romantic relationship completely."

—Shelby Janice Kroah, Facebook

"The food fight scene in Fried Green Tomatoes was a metaphor for sex. Ruth’s son was, as in the book, given the surname Threadgoode. The reason they didn’t acknowledge it in the movie was executive meddling — Ruth and Idgie were just as in love with each other in the movie as they were in the book."


22. Two LGBTQ characters written beautifully: Wil and Vivian from Saving Face (2004)

Vivian asking to stay the night at Wilhelmina's apartment

"I think Saving Face did an exceptional job of navigating the complexity of being out but not accepted, and yet still feeling dedicated to your family. The plot around Ma wasn't something you'd typically expect to see in a movie, and helped explore another side of 'forbidden' love."


23. An LGBTQ character written horribly: Hope Mikaelson from Legacies (2018–present)

"Hope's been written horribly on Legacies because they never allow her to explore her sexuality beyond one-liners, even though the actor who plays her confirmed she's bisexual. They've also done Josie dirty, too — they only give her relationships that are rushed with absolutely no development, and her love interests are always written off the show."

Kelly Martinez

24. Two LGBTQ characters written beautifully: Dani Clayton and Jamie Taylor from The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

Dani telling Jamie that she wants to be married to her, even if they can't legally be together

"I'm going to vote for Dani and Jamie from The Haunting of Bly Manor as written beautifully — I appreciated the fact that Dani was a dynamic character who was not just defined by one thing. Her coming-out story (and eventual relationship with Jamie) were both incredibly important, but she had a story outside of that. A lot of times, coming out ends up being the thing that defines a character, but that wasn't the case with Dani (or Jamie). And even though Dani died, her death had nothing to do with her sexuality — she wasn't killed off for that reason."


"Dani from The Haunting of Bly Manor was done perfectly — her relationship with Jamie was tender and sweet, and she was allowed to have a huge character arc outside of her just being queer."


25. Two LGBTQ characters written horribly: Nam Sook-hee/Maid and Izumi Hideko/Lady from The Handmaiden (2016)

Lady telling Maid: "Your face...every night in bed, I think of your face"

"The Handmaiden was so male gaze-y — it could have been a great opportunity to represent East Asian women as regular people instead of stereotypical sex objects. It completely pandered to that [straight] audience."


26. And an LGBTQ character written beautifully: Therese from Carol (2015)

Therese: "I'm wide awake. I've never been more awake in my life"

Carol did a brilliant job portraying what it's like to fall in queer love for the first time through Therese's character. The journey of Therese questioning her sexuality to feeling very sure and 'never more awake in my life' was an accurate portrayal of many queer women — falling in love can be fun, complicated, and meaningful all at the same time, and that's what we saw through Therese's eyes.

Plus, this is one of few queer movies where the main characters actually had a happy ending, and I, for one, was relieved to watch Therese and Carol still alive by the end of the movie (without falling victim to the 'bury your gays' trope).

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.